Coronavirus Fears Force Cancellation of Nation’s Largest Trucking Show
Louisville, KY – The largest annual trucking show in the United States has officially been cancelled over fears of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus.
On Thursday, organizers of the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) — hosted each year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY — said “extraordinary circumstances” and an “abundance of caution” led to the decision.
In a statement, MATS officials said, “It is with a heavy heart and deep regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Mid-America Trucking Show scheduled for March 26-28 in Louisville, KY. This is a decision we did not make lightly, but in consultation with our exhibitors, attendees, supporters, and partners, including Kentucky Venues, Louisville Tourism, Kentucky Governor’s Office, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families Services.”
Further, organizers expressed the decision was made with the “health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, employees, and show partners in mind.”
The decision to cancel MATS comes just one day after show officials sent an email update to exhibitors informing that plans were still moving forward.
“On-site set-up for MATS 2020 has already begun and we’re looking forward to another successful event,” the email said.
While acknowledging fears over the coronavirus, MATS officials said that 850 exhibitors remained committed to attending.
Further, the email indicated over 50,000 attendees were already pre-registered for MATS 2020 with registrations “still coming in at a strong pace.”
“We typically see another 10-20,000 on-site registrations,” organizers said.
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MATS officials faced mounting pressure as concern about the coronavirus has resulted in the unprecedented cancellations of public gatherings including major sporting events, concerts, and conferences.
In fact, a petition was launched last weekend asking Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to step in and force the cancellation of MATS.
“This show generates upwards of 90,000 attendance and will be drawing in truckers from all over the country, not only will this cause a spreading event within the convention center but throughout Louisville as attendees stay at the local hotels and visit the shops and restaurants throughout the city,” the petition reads. “All of these truck drivers will spread back out after the show and deliver goods to every corner of our country, this IS our supply chain.”
READ more about the petition HERE.
In announcing the cancellation on Thursday, MATS officials say the event will return stronger than ever in 2021.
MATS 2021 is set for March 25-27, and will be the 50th anniversary of the show.